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Leona Maguire storms to British title


Leona Maguire

Leona Maguire

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Leona Maguire

Leona Maguire turned in a sensational display at sunny Royal Ashdown Forest yesterday to lift the Ladies Open Strokeplay Championship crown.

Two strokes off the pace at the halfway stage overnight, the 16-year-old demolished the field with two breathtaking rounds of 69 to win by an amazing six strokes.

Up until yesterday no-one had broken par on this ferocious parkland course, but Maguire did it twice on the final day to pulverise the opposition.

This is not the first time this diminutive plus-five handicapper has taken a field apart — cantered to a 15-stroke success in the Portuguese Open Championship in Lisbon in January.

Her third-round 69 with halves of 34 and 35 was brilliantly compiled, the highlight being an eagle three on the 477-yard fifth hole.

That put Maguire a commanding five strokes clear with one round remaining. And she repeated the feat in the afternoon with halves of 34 and 35.

Maguire started and finished with birdie threes — and in neither round did she card a six.

In the end, the Cavan teenager posted a 72-hole aggregate of level-par 288, winning by six strokes from Belgium's Laurence Herman who also carded a closing 69.

“Today I played well and everything seemed to go right,”said Maguire.

Her twin sister Lisa failed to survive the halfway cut however, less than a month after winning the European title.

Wellington's Meghan MacLaren was third on 296.

Teenage Welsh international Amy Boulden, runner-up last year, was fourth, a further stroke back.

Charlene Reid of Royal Portrush moved up the leaderboard with a third-round 72 but a disappointing 81 yesterday afternoon dropped her down again and she finished on 308 in joint 21st place.

Sarah Cunningham of Ennis had two 78s yesterday to end on 313 in joint-32nd place.

l Des Smyth carded a two-under-par 70 on day one of the Scottish Senior Open at St. Andrews Bay yesterday.

Smyth finished the opening day in a share of ninth — three strokes clear of Jimmy Heggarty and Denis O'Sullivan at one-over-par.

Eddie Polland carded a 74 and Eamonn Darcy a 75 in only his third event this year.

Australia's Peter Fowler finished birdie, eagle, to complete a seven-under-par 65 to lead the Scottish Senior by two strokes from England's Barry Lane and American Jerry Bruner.

Belfast Telegraph